A Brief History of Sudan
Napatan Phase: “The Golden
Age”
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Egyptian political, cultural, and economic influence was prominent in the early
history of Sudan. Egypt’s sphere of influence extended into Kush, known for their rich
soil, containing vast amounts of iron and gold. The kingdom of Kush was an advanced
civilization, being one of the first to have their own written language separate from the
traditional Egyptian hieroglyphs of the time, in 300 BC. This control ended when Kush
annexed from Egyptian influence in 1000 BC. After gaining independence Kush
continued to conquer Egypt in 736 BC, remaining there until 657 BC. Egypt freed itself
from Kush in 657 BC, consequently forming two separate and powerful kingdoms,
Alwa and Maqurra.
Pottery from the
Napatan Period
Structure from Napatan Period
Turco-Egyptian Rule (18211885)
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Turco- egyptian forces led by Muhammad ‘Ali conquered Sudan in 1821, instilling
turco-egyptian control until 1885. Muhammad ‘Ali, the Ottoman ruler of Egypt, was
focused on recruiting Sudanese soldiers and exploiting Sudan’s natural resources.
Under the rule of Muhammad ‘Ali, thousands of Sudanese people were forced to
cultivate cotton and were heavily taxed. Thousands of Sudanese people were forced
to leave Sudan and go to Egypt, many did not survive the trip. The direct rule of the
Turco-egyptian empire began to be limited as they placed local officials in power,
forming indirect rule. The Sudanese people regained further control when the Turkish
language was replaced by the native, Arabic. In 1885 a Sudanese group led by
Muhammad Ahamad bin’ Abdallan captured Khartoum, signaling the end of the Turcoegyptian influence in Sudan. Benefits from the Turco-egyptian rule included a trade
with other countries, reestablishment of Sudanese leaders, and the introduction of
Arabic culture and language. The slave trade in Sudan was another result of the
Turco-egyptian period, and it continued on after 1885.
4
Slave Trade in Sudan during Turco-Egyptian rule
Dar Fur Region: 1750-1850
•
The Fur people are a dominate ethnic group in western Sudan that dates back to the
beginning of the seventeenth century. From 1750- 1850 Dar Fur was heavily reliant on
trade with Egypt. Consequently, Egyptian customs, culture, and religion were heavily
influential on the Fur people. Present day Darfurians practice Islam and are
distinctively different from Sudanese people of different regions. This difference has
been the main excuse by the Janjaweed and the Arab nomads for their ethnic
extermination.
English Colonization: 18981956
•
The late eighteenth century was marked by attempt of foreign powers, such as France,
to colonize Sudan. In 1898 the Sudanese government was successfully overthrown by
Anglo- Egyptian forces, introducing a new era of British rule and influence. At the
time, Great Britain was working in relative tandem with Egypt to control Sudan through
direct rule. British colonization ushered in changes for Sudanese infrastructure,
restored law, helped the economy flourish, and instituted a modern government.
Egyptian forces were removed from Sudan in 1924, causing Great Britain to employ
indirect rule by appointing various local officials under their command. In 1924, the
British government passed the Southern Policy, instilled to scrutinize and restrict the
use of Arabic and the religion Islam. This act divided Sudan into two separate regions,
the north and the south. Northern Sudan consisted mainly of Muslims and was more
affluent, whereas southern Sudan was dominated by various non Muslim religions and
remained far behind the north. This spit attributed to the future civil wars in Sudan
Southern Policy: 1924
•
In 1924, the British government passed the Southern Policy, instilled to scrutinize and
manage the use of Arabic and the spread of Islam. This act divided Sudan into two
separate regions, the north and the south, based on religious background. Northern
Sudan consisted mainly of Muslims and was more affluent, whereas southern Sudan
was dominated by various non Muslim religions and remained far behind the north.
This spit attributed to the future civil wars in Sudan because of the clashing of
cultures, language, and economic situations of each region.
glish influence in Sudan
Political Cartoon depicting Great
Britain’s expansive control of Africa
Sudanese Nationalism:
1938- 1958
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Sudan’s fight for independence began in 1938 with the formation of the Graduates’
General Congress (GGC), a group rooted in nationalism. The GGC soon broke off into
separate parties, the National Unionist Party (NUP) and the Independence Front (IF),
both fighting for control of the Sudanese government. Sudanese independence was
finally recognized in 1935 in an agreement between Great Britain and Egypt. The
agreement allowed Sudan to be independent of colonization for three years, depending
on the status of their progress. During this time Sudanese began to organize a national
army and infrastructure. Nationalism formed Sudan into a modern and unified country,
however it failed to serve the whole country. The southern regions of Sudan were
completely left out of their government, and the government itself was formed to
benefit the northern regions of Sudan.
Republic of Sudan: 19581964
•
On January 1, 1956 the Republic of Sudan was declared to be under parliamentary rule.
Several religious groups, the Ansar and the Khatmiyya rallied for control of the
parliament causing it to be divided, ineffective, and corrupt. The parliament was
quickly replaced by a militaristic dictatorship two years later, on November 17, 1958,
led by Lieutenant General Ibranhim Abboud. His reign lasted until November 1964,
when there was a national push for democracy in Sudan. Attempts to become
democratic country failed because of corrupt political leaders and the split between
southern and northern Sudan.
Democratic Republic of Sudan:
May 9, 1969
•
The Democratic Republic of Sudan was established on May 9, 1969 when Gaafar
Mohammed Nimeiri took over the previously democratic government. Nimeiri
suspended the constitution and the national assembly. On May 25, 1971 Nimeiri
abolished all opposing political parties and declared the Democratic Republic of Sudan
to be unified under the Sudanese Socialist Union. In the elections of 1971 Nimeiri ran
unopposed and was elected president. The elections of 1977 and 1983 carried on in the
same fashion, as Nimeiri was continuously reinstated as president. One of the
contributions of Nimeiri’s rule to Sudan was the end of the civil wars that had been
ongoing since Sudan’s independence in 1956. Inflation, riots, and poor foreign
relations are also attributed to Nimeiri’s regime. Nimeiri remained president until 1985,
when he was replaced by Mohammed Taha.
Civil Wars (1956-1972)
(1983-current)
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After sixty seven years of British and Egyptian colonization Sudan became
independent in 1956. During Sudan’s colonial period the northern part of the country
flourished while the southern region remained relatively undeveloped by western
influences. The differences between the two regions forged a large division of culture,
language, economy, and religion. These dissimilarities fueled the civil wars that have
plagued Sudan since its independence in 1956. Another issue that has accredited to
cause the civil wars is the division of the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) and
their constant use of violence to sway the Sudanese government. Many historians
blame Sudan’s constant state of civil war to a lack of unity of the states and corrupt
government.
Famine of 1989
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In 1989 the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) created conflict as the group
was successfully defeated the Republic of Sudan, gaining control in the region of
Sudan. That year a drought hit Sudan, causing a major crop failure. The
government refused to famine relief to the Southern part of Sudan, fearing that it
would aide the SPLA. This left thousands of innocent civilians starving. Various
philanthropic organizations attempted to assist the Sudanese, but were expelled
from the country entirely. The famine caused inflation, leaving the Sudanese
currency virtually worthless. Brought about by drought,swarms of locust,
destruction of the civil war. The crop failure devastated the country’s agricultural
industry, economy, and overall food supply. Violence erupted throughout Sudan,
resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands people throughout the Nile area.
SPLA
soldier
Famine Victims
Omar Hasan al- Bashir: June
30, 1989- Present
•
After 1969 Sudan was led by various civilians, until June 30, 1989, when Omar Hasan al
Bashir gained control of the government. When in power he established the National
Salvation Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). The RCC was dominated by military
influence, with fifteen different militaristic advisors and a insignificant cabinet
consisting of civilians. He eliminated the previous constitution of 1985, abused the
freedom of press, eliminated unions, and vanquished all alternate political parties
other than his own. Bashir issued a state of emergency on April 23, 1990 and
disbanded the parliament, giving him and the RCC complete control.
1990-1993 Civil Rule and
Bashir’s Second rise to power
•
From 1990 until 1993 Sudan returned to civilian rule until the elections of 1996, were
Bashir again gained political control by a 75% majority in the election. In 2005 Bashir
was reinstated as President of Sudan, under popular vote. However, various groups
throughout Sudan have protested the election, claiming them to be rigged and unfair.
Rebel groups like the SPLA use violent uprisings to protest Bashir’s government,
fueling yet another civil war. On an international level, Bashir is wanted by the
International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity for his part in the
atrocities occurring in Darfur.
Genocide in Darfur:
2003- now
•
There are currently an estimated 200,000 people that have died as a result of attacks
from Arab nomads and the Janjaweed in Darfur, the western region of Sudan. The
raids began in 2003 when the Arab nomads, supported by the government, joined with
the Janjaweed militia in systematically attempting to regain control of the Darfur region
by murdering thousands of Fur citizens. The Janjaweed and the Arab nomads
continue to ravage towns, rape women, kidnap children, murder thousands, and cause
the displacement of more than two million Darfurians. Millions of refugees have fled to
the bordering nation of Chad overcrowding and exhausting their refugee camps. The
SLAM (Sudan Liberation Army) along with the JEM (Justice and Equality Movement)
backed the native Fur people, resulting in further conflict between these groups and
the rebels. The Sudanese government has refused to allow foreign nations to send
relief workers, food, or water to Darfur. In 2004 the United States recognized the mass
murders and terrorization of millions of Darfurians as genocide, but has not taken
much action to prevent it.
Janjaweed
•
The Janjaweed is a malicious Arab militia focused on murdering thousands of
Sudanese people in order to gain control of the Darfur area. The Janjaweed is already
held responsible for the murders of over 200,000 innocent people. They are infamous
for their atrocities, which include rape, mass executions, and destructions of whole
villages and towns. The Janjaweed has been linked to the government of the current
president, Omar Hasan al Bashir.
Refugees
fleeing
Janjaweed
Works Cited
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Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/History/
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Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/History/
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Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/History/
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